Formula 1 teams have come to an agreement on new rules for the 2021 season that will prevent the ‘reverse-engineering’ of their rivals’ cars.
The practice has come under scrutiny following the dispute over Racing Point’s RP20, which is closely modeled on last year’s Mercedes W10. The team received a point deduction and a fine after breaking the rules by using Mercedes’ rear brake ducts as the basis for their design.
The teams have now agreed to new rules for the 2021 season that will define and ban the “ reverse engineering ” of their rivals’ cars. RaceFans understands that this will be achieved through changes to the definition of “ listed team components ” in the 2021 Technical Regulations.
LTCs are parts that are used exclusively by one team. The new rules will prohibit teams from using “reverse engineering” to design SLDs. It will also limit the sources of information that teams can refer to when designing their cars.
Information available to the public for all competitors, such as photographs obtained during events and tests, will be permitted. However, other sources of more detailed information and manipulation techniques are prohibited.
Teams will be prohibited from using software to convert photographs or images into design data, using three-dimensional cameras, images and photogrammetry – software that converts image data into models – and scanning of surface of the parts.
The FIA is expected to introduce technical guidelines to further clarify which techniques will be considered illegal “reverse engineering”.
In the event that two teams produce externally similar designs for all parts, the FIA will judge whether “reverse engineering” was involved, or whether the teams arrived at the designs independently. Teams should provide the information necessary to prove their compliance with the rules if necessary.
The rules will be applied retrospectively to design work done before 2021. Any design work teams have already done for parts they use on their 2021 cars must therefore meet these new restrictions.
However, any parts that were managed by teams in 2019 or the first event of 2020 will be considered their own designs and not as the product of “ reverse engineering ”, and therefore may be used.
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Italian Grand Prix 2020
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